8 Tips and Tricks for Visiting DUMBO, Brooklyn in NYC + Getting the Perfect Shot

The best way to see Manhattan is from Brooklyn, and DUMBO (short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) proves it. Seriously, if you’re coming to NYC looking for unparalleled views of iconic architecture such as the World Trade Center and the Brooklyn Bridge, DUMBO is the spot for you.

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Though I found myself in Brooklyn infrequently during my first few years living in NYC, I’ll admit that the funky, artsy borough has grown a lot on me over the last several years.

When I’m in Brooklyn on the weekends now (which is becoming a semi-regular habit), DUMBO is one of my favorite neighborhoods to visit, filled with cute boutiques and fun hangout spots like Evil Twin Brewing, Em Vietnamese Bistro, and Time Out Market.

Here’s everything you need to know before you go:

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1. Where is the Best Photo Spot in DUMBO?

DUMBO’s iconic shot of the Manhattan Bridge—you know the one—is located at Washington St and Main St.

This spot is free to visit, but you’ll need to be careful. There’s one-way traffic on Washington St, and it’s not in the direction you’d like it to be.

Stay safe, and ensure that whoever’s taking the photo for you is watching out for cars coming up from behind.

style blogger Eva Phan of Eva Darling in DUMBO Brooklyn wearing a black steve madden coat on the corner of washington st and main st

2. Visit DUMBO Early in the Morning for Photos

I’ve gone to DUMBO specifically to take photos on three different occasions now, and the only time in which I was able to get long shots without anyone in them was when I went at 7 am on a weekday (and even then, there was already a group of people also out shooting).

DUMBO quickly gets crowded with tourists, photographers, and models, so visiting when the sun comes up is essential if you’re only stopping by the neighborhood for photos.

I’ve also previously shot around 11 am, at golden hour, and into the night. Even when it got dark, there were still tons of people out shooting.

The image above was taken right around 11 am. We solved the issue of other people in the frame by shooting upwards and cropping the shot to a three-quarter shot instead of a full body shot.

The photo below was taken at 7 am. No people, and also far less traffic!

Style and fashion blogger Eva Phan stuart weitzman hiline over the knee OTK boots in black yellow ruffle tiered fit and flare dress white turtleneck sweater black heart tights gucci belt 1 inch prada astrology cahier handbag half asian VIetnamese girl Lisi Lerch Emily Pearl Earrings early morning golden hour photo

3. How to Get to DUMBO From Manhattan

From Manhattan, DUMBO can be accessed by taking the F to the York St station. The iconic view at Washington and Water St is just an easy five-minute walk away.

Alternatively, you can also take the A or C to the High St station, but it’s a slightly longer walk to most of DUMBO’s main attractions.

Of course, the easiest way to get to DUMBO from Manhattan is by taking a taxi, Uber, Lyft, or Revel ride. For those unfamiliar, Revel is a new rideshare service in New York that operates a fleet of blue Teslas. You can take 40% off your first ride and 25% off your next three after that by using my promo code “EVAP1045.”

This is definitely the priciest option—congestion surcharges and city taxes on rideshares make getting between the two boroughs by car expensive. From midtown Manhattan, getting to DUMBO typically costs $30 to $50 in each direction by taxi, Uber, Lyft, or Revel.

4. Need an Outfit Change? No Problem.

Unlike many of the other best photo spots in NYC, DUMBO has no shortage of places to change your outfit!

There are public restrooms at Brooklyn Bridge Park and Empire Stores. Empire Stores is well heated and also has public work spaces. It’s the perfect spot to take a break when out and about during the winter.

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5. Go to the Free Public Access Rooftop in DUMBO

If you’re looking for an amazing view of Manhattan, the rooftop of Empire Stores is the place to be!

On one side, the Brooklyn Bridge, the World Trade Center, and the Manhattan skyline can be seen, and on the other, the Manhattan Bridge.

To get there, head to Empire Stores, which is just one block off from Washington and Main on Water St. Then, take the elevator to the fifth floor.

You’ll step out to a rooftop with an amazing view and beautiful gardens. Even better, it’s totally free to access and open to the public!

Popular NYC travel and style blogger Eva Phan of Eva Darling in DUMBO Brooklyn Manhattan skyline view roodtop World Trade Center Brooklyn Bridge self portrait bell sleeve sweater army green mini skirt black stuart weitzman hiline over the knee boots otk suede where to go in New York hidden public access rooftop free photography location trendy luxury teen ootd inspiration view of Manhattan Bridge

6. Explore the Best Restaurants and Bars in DUMBO

DUMBO is a small neighborhood that previously wasn’t synonymous with having the best food in New York.

While I still wouldn’t call it a culinary destination, several worthwhile (and photo-worthy) restaurants and bars have popped up over the last few years that are attracting crowds. If anything else, the neighborhood has some restaurants with beautiful views of the Manhattan skyline.

Stop by Ample Hills Creamery for some seriously delicious ice cream on a hot summer day, or chill at laidback Evil Twin Brewing’s DUMBO outpost for a smoothie sour on a Saturday afternoon.

While you’re in the neighborhood, check out the following when you’re in need of a break:

  • Almondine Bakery
  • Ample Hills Creamery
  • Bread & Spread
  • Em Vietnamese Bistro
  • Evil Twin Brewing
  • Juliana’s Pizza
  • The River Café
  • Time Out Market
  • Westville DUMBO
Style and fashion blogger Eva Phan stuart weitzman hiline over the knee OTK boots in black yellow ruffle tiered fit and flare dress white turtleneck sweater black heart tights gucci belt 1 inch prada astrology cahier handbag half asian VIetnamese girl Lisi Lerch Emily Pearl Earrings

7. Wear Good Walking Shoes

Part of DUMBO’s charm is it’s cobblestone streets, however walking down the cobblestone sidewalks can also be a little difficult!

I recommend leaving the stiletto heels at home and opting for a block heel or comfortable walking shoes like sneakers. After all, dodging people while trying to get down a sidewalk in NYC is difficult enough without the element of tripping over cobblestones added in!

8. Visit Jane’s Carousel

I may technically be an adult, but I never outgrew my love for carousels! Jane’s Carousel is a beautiful vintage carousel in DUMBO on the Brooklyn Bridge Park waterfront.

The carousel is open on the weekends, and you can ride it for just $2.

Pin These Tips for Taking DUMBO Photos!

Ensure you get the perfect shots when visiting DUMBO by pinning the image below.

Popular NYC travel and style blogger Eva Phan of Eva Darling in DUMBO Brooklyn Manhattan skyline view roodtop World Trade Center Brooklyn Bridge self portrait bell sleeve sweater army green mini skirt black stuart weitzman hiline over the knee boots otk suede where to go in New York hidden public access rooftop free photography location stuart weitzman hiline over the knee OTK boots in black yellow ruffle tiered fit and flare dress white turtleneck sweater black heart tights gucci belt 1 inch prada astrology cahier handbag
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8 Comments

  1. November 10, 2018 / 6:39 am

    Stunning photos, you look gorgeous 🙂

    • Eva Phan
      Author
      November 10, 2018 / 8:52 pm

      Thank you Becky!

  2. Jemima
    November 10, 2018 / 5:11 pm

    This was very interesting to read! 🙂 I haven’t been to NYC yet but it’s obviously one of the places I’d love to explore… you are very lucky to live there! 🙂 Just recently noticed that I had written in my law school yearbook that in 10 years, I’ll be chasing a taxi in 4-inch heels in Manhattan. 😀 (Maybe Via 😉 in flats…) Thank you for sharing these very useful tips, I’ll save this for my upcoming NYC trip!!

    • Eva Phan
      Author
      November 10, 2018 / 8:51 pm

      Haha I think chasing a taxi {or Uber or Via} has become almost a daily activity for me! 😂 I definitely feel very blessed to live here, hopefully you’ll get the chance to see NYC soon!

  3. November 17, 2018 / 8:04 am

    I was there last summer and had no idea about the rooftop.
    Ive written it down for the next time i visit nyc 🙂 thanks for sharing these tips.

  4. Rita Talia
    June 14, 2019 / 1:49 pm

    I love and appreciate how went into so much detail! May I ask if you know of a rooftop place in the city? I see all these photo on social media of people being on a high rise and always wonder where they can get these photos. I’m sure some of them are private residential homes, but there are many non-New Yorkers that find these spots and never share them : (
    I’ve seen some great shots at Top of the Rock but its still nothing compared to the ones that I see on instagram

    • Eva Phan
      Author
      June 15, 2019 / 4:06 pm

      Hi Rita! Bar Hugo, Catch Chelsea, and the 230 5th Ave Rooftop Bar all have great rooftop patios. As far as rooftops go that are empty like many viral Instagram shots, most of those are on top of private apartment buildings, or they’re apartment buildings or office buildings that have been broken into illegally to get the shot. I’ve been trying to track one down myself, and apart from the apartment rooftops of people I know, I’ve had no luck!
      xx,
      E

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